Today’s banking consumers live in a digital-first world, and this is especially true when it comes to their expectations of customer service. After all, 81% of customers attempt self-service before seeking further support.

Perhaps they’ve lost their bank card or want to order new checks. Or they might need to reset their password or dispute a transaction. In each situation, customers crave immediate and easy solutions — they want to resolve an issue with a single tap on their mobile device. 

For banks, delivering customer support that is personalized and “always-on” has become the key to building trust and loyalty. 

But, unfortunately, many banks are failing to deliver in this key area. Often, their contact center agents don’t have all the necessary information about a customer’s case history. Data may be siloed in disparate systems — or, in the worst cases, strewn across paper notepads and Post-it Notes. This disorganization reduces efficiency, drives up costs, and increases resolution times.

At Salesforce, we work with many banks tackling these challenges. Here are four practical ways we’ve found helpful for banks to transform customer service by connecting every channel, business process, and customer data point to make agents more efficient and increase customer satisfaction.


1. Identify your most common service requests

Start by asking yourself, “Where are the biggest opportunities to create a more connected and caring banking experience?” Look for common service requests, such as reporting a lost card and ordering checks, or frequent technical issues, like resetting passwords and unlocking accounts.


Perhaps customers are forced to call the bank to place a travel notification on their cards. This may involve waiting on hold for five to 10 minutes to have a simple conversation that only lasts one to two minutes and probably could have been handled through an online chat or a similar digital interaction. 

These routine inquiries and processes are perfect places to start when introducing self-service and automation. 


2. Enable self-service and automation for common inquiries and processes

Simple processes can be addressed with self-service tools embedded in online portals and mobile apps. Chatbots can also help guide customers through straightforward issues and transactions.


Deflecting these matters from the contact center helps customers resolve issues faster. Crucially, it also frees up agents’ time to focus on the cases that may be more intractable — perhaps where a customer has two overlapping issues. And, of course, some situations rely on agents to display more interpersonal sensitivity than a chatbot can offer — for example, handling a customer who is seeking an extension on their mortgage repayment due to hardship.

In addition to self-service, automation can save agents’ time by eliminating the need to toggle between different systems when performing a common process like freezing a credit card. It can also open up opportunities to make customer service proactive rather than reactive, giving people a sense they are being treated with respect. Wouldn’t it be great if customers received a proactive warning by text message that their bank balance was low instead of discovering this after they’ve overdrawn their account and incurred a fee? 


3. Connect self-service experiences to the contact center

Offering self-service tools is a good start, but it won’t count for much if a customer’s experience becomes time-consuming and frustrating when they have to speak with a person. For example, a customer who loses their bank card might be able to report the loss online. However, a call may become necessary if they want to dispute a transaction while the card is missing. At this point, they’re transferred to the bank’s fraud team and have to repeat information they’ve already entered on the website. 

You can help your customer avoid this repetition by connecting workflows across channels, such as between self-service tools and the contact center. For example, customers won’t have to repeat themselves if agents have easy access to customers’ recent interactions, like a lost card submission or a chatbot conversation. 

When customers switch channels midstream, it’s critical the experience remain connected. Indeed, 70% of customers say connected processes are very important.

Republic Bank, which is based in Kentucky, has taken this approach by automating its case management workflows for debit card and clearinghouse disputes. Workflow automation enables the bank to reduce the time it takes to generate client letters by 99% and eliminate misrouted complaints altogether. 


4. Empower agents with visibility into customer and case information

customer relationship management (CRM) platform can connect a company’s digital touchpoints and other customer-facing interactions. It can also link a customer’s financial holdings, activities, and relationships. By doing this, it can provide a 360-degree view of the customer. Agents can access all relevant customer information — including account details, transactions, relationships, and even life events — on one screen enabling agents to provide faster, better service, and be more efficient. 

It can also be used to deepen and personalize service. For example, if a customer replacing a lost card recently got married, the agent can ask if they want to add their partner as an authorized user. 

Taking this approach even further, it’s now possible to integrate intelligent capabilities that can guide the service agent experience. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) can provide recommended actions for contact center agents based on the context of an interaction. 


How Salesforce can help banks transform service engagement

Banking’s digital transformation has arrived and there is no turning back. At Salesforce, we are committed to helping banks successfully harness this disruption to achieve a new era of exceptional service. The benefit is not just in offering customers more control. It’s about inspiring trust they are in the hands of a bank that truly cares about their financial goals. 

If you’re in the middle of transforming your bank’s service engagement or you’re just getting started, check out our solution page to learn more about how Salesforce can help you succeed on this journey.